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Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Posted by Jan W on 8/09/02 at 17:36 (092084)

Hello PF Sufferers:

I had PF for 4 years and have tried it all except the knife, i.e., stretches, custom orthotics, shots, massage, night splints and ESWT and nothing worked until... I was referred to a physical therapist.

In short and in lay person's words, the cause of my heel pain was that my weight, when walking or standing, was not evenly distributed between the front of my foot and the back of it. Until recently, when I stood, my knees would lock and my butt would go out a bit and all the weight was in my heels.

The physical therapist put me through a 'function strength test' developed by Garry Gray to determine the problem. I've spent 3 months with the PT and I haven't had heel pain in 2 months. I up to two 20 minute walks a day and even caught myself standing at the library recently.

I urge anyone with long term problems to find a PT that can give you the above mentioned test.

Good Luck!

Jan W.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/09/02 at 19:00 (092087)

hey i lock my knees all the time. can you tell us about the exercises or whatever you do?

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

john h on 8/09/02 at 19:14 (092090)

Military people are taught early on in training to never lock your knees. It can cause you to pass out while standing at attention for some length of time.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Suzanne D on 8/09/02 at 21:54 (092104)

Choir directors tell their students the same thing. My daughter said someone passed out in her choir class last year while standing on risers, and that was the problem.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/10/02 at 10:08 (092117)

Hi Pala:

As a lay person, I'd suggest you try to notice if your weight is in your heels. If so find a PT.

It would be hard to describe the 6 exercises I do daily, plus the ones I do at PT and my exrcises might not be right for you.

However, the first one I did was the 'waiter's bow' and it allowed me to feel where the weight should be on my fore foot. First, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a yard stick or broom with a long handle and hold it behind your back. The stick should touch 3 places: your butt, in between your shoulder blades and the back of your head. Once it's touching all 3, bend from the waist about 45 degrees. You should feel your weight in the front of your feet. Try it. Let me know.

Jan

PS- I went to two other PTs and did the massage, ultrasound, taping etc. My current PT-Djimmer and his exercises are teaching my muscles how they should be working via exercies. He is solving the problem, not just trying to fix the symptom of pain.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/10/02 at 12:55 (092128)

thank you that is very helpful. some of us have used up aur life savings on foot problems and can't afford pt. i have found your posts to be very useful. now i have the broom handle idea i see i am very out of line. butt sticks out backwards and back, stomach sways forward.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Julie on 8/10/02 at 16:45 (092139)

Jan, you've identified one of the most common causes of back problems (as well as foot problems). Our weight when standing should be evenly balanced between the balls of the feet and the heels. When it's held too far forward, the pelvis follows along and tips forward, which exaggerates the lumbar curve and puts excessive pressure on the intervertebral discs, as well as causing the knees to hyperextend (lock back). When it's held too far back, other problems arise. Either way, all the joints of the lower extremities are placed under strain, especially the knees; and the muscles are being asked to work unnecessarily hard to keep us upright. When the weight is centred and correctly balanced, none of these problems arise.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

yasmin from london on 8/10/02 at 17:28 (092142)

Hi

What other ways can someone correct their balance/posture? what about doing yoga or pilates?

Yasmin

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/10/02 at 17:56 (092144)

Hi Pala: The key with that exercise is that you are not rounding your back, but are bending from the hips.

The problem with me was that when I tried to bend over, I did it with a rounding of the back instead of bending from my hips. So my problems started in the hips then affected my knees and my feet. His testing looked at my foot and ankle plus what my knees and hips were doing. My podiatrists looked only at what my feet and ankles were doing. My heel problems really originated in my hips.

More info: Yesterday, I was on the web site: physicaltherapy.about.com site and searched on PF. Found an article about the link between the big toe and PF. The article said that the big toe should bend down 65-70 degrees and if it does not then it affects gait and may lead to strain on the plantar.

This was true for me. The range of motion on both my big toes was not very good. When I went swimming, I would get muscle tightening or cramping. Since doing my PT exercises I have much better flexibility and no pain when swimming. So check your toe flexibility.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/10/02 at 18:04 (092145)

Hi Yasmin:

I'm sure both things you mentioned will help in general, but my PF was caused by certain muscles doing things the wrong way. So, I'm having to teach them to do it the correct way via very specific exercises designed for my situation.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/10/02 at 20:09 (092151)

how do you improve the range of motion of the toe? i have this problem too. sounds like we have similar situation.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Julie on 8/11/02 at 04:52 (092169)

Yasmin

If you're interested in yoga or pilates, you'll need to find a class in which you'll be properly instructed. Don't try to learn from books or videos. With regard to yoga, not all teachers will emphasise basic standing, sitting and lying. These are the vital basics of correct body use, but unfortunately all too many just 'teach postures' without reference to them.

And there are many 'styles' of yoga, not all of which are appropriate for people with physical problems. Look for a class that is (a) small and (b) close to where you live or work so that you'll attend regularly. Talk to the teacher first, be open about your problems, and make sure s/he will take an interest in them and give you help.

The British Wheel of Yoga can give you a list of qualified teachers in your area. You can email the central office at (email removed)

I teach yoga in central London, and I do emphasise correct body use. If you want to 'talk' further, you're welcome to email me at juliefried @ clara.co.uk. (Leave out the spaces, which I've inserted in the address to avoid junk mail.)

Pilates, which is largely yoga-based, is very specifically targeted at strengthening the 'core' muscles. It's a good system, though more limited in its scope and aims than yoga.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/11/02 at 12:23 (092202)

Hi Pala:

How to get more mobility in big toes, from a lay person's viewpoint. But first, my disclaimer: I'm not a physical therapist only a patient of one. These exercises were given to me and may not be beneficial for you and could make things worse. You really should get a profession PT's evaluation.

…but here goes: First, do the bowing exercise 2x10, twice a day. Remember to concentrate on getting the weight on the fore foot.

Then add a balancing exercise that I do: Stand on your left foot with the right foot about 3-4 inches off the ground; In your right hand hold a soup can (or similar) and while standing on only the one leg bring the soup can across your chest to near your arm pit and then back to your right side. Do not turn the trunk of your body, just move your hand and arm. I started doing 2 x 5 on each leg, now I can do 20. To really balance well the big toe must help out. Again, be aware of the fore foot.

After a number of weeks you can try to do the waiter's bow on one foot.. even after 3 months of doing this one, I still trouble with 2x 10, so start slow.

One last comment: Before PT when I went for a walk I didn't really feel myself push off on the big toe, but after 4 months of PT I do. Check what you are doing.

Jan

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/11/02 at 13:14 (092216)

thanks so much. will gently carefully do these. i appreciate.!!!

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

john h on 8/12/02 at 18:18 (092301)

I do not know why you lack mobility in your great toe but mine was from hallux limitus which women are more prone to than men. I had a cheilectomy and all my pain is gone and my flexability is fine. This is a short surgery that cleans out the joint and takes out a small wedge of bone to allow the toe to flex. If this is your problem my guess is that exercise or bending the toe will only make it worse. The Doctors can weigh in on that. When the pain gets bad enough you will know it is time to get it fixed.

Re: Julie - Thanks (read above message from me posted 12 Aug) EOM

yasmin from london on 8/12/02 at 18:47 (092307)

gg

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

john h on 8/16/02 at 19:08 (092693)

When I said all my pain is gone I of course meant in my toe! Not my PF!

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 9/09/02 at 16:16 (094836)

Hi Pala:

It's been about a month and I'm wondering whether the exercises have helped at all?

Jan W

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/09/02 at 19:00 (092087)

hey i lock my knees all the time. can you tell us about the exercises or whatever you do?

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

john h on 8/09/02 at 19:14 (092090)

Military people are taught early on in training to never lock your knees. It can cause you to pass out while standing at attention for some length of time.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Suzanne D on 8/09/02 at 21:54 (092104)

Choir directors tell their students the same thing. My daughter said someone passed out in her choir class last year while standing on risers, and that was the problem.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/10/02 at 10:08 (092117)

Hi Pala:

As a lay person, I'd suggest you try to notice if your weight is in your heels. If so find a PT.

It would be hard to describe the 6 exercises I do daily, plus the ones I do at PT and my exrcises might not be right for you.

However, the first one I did was the 'waiter's bow' and it allowed me to feel where the weight should be on my fore foot. First, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a yard stick or broom with a long handle and hold it behind your back. The stick should touch 3 places: your butt, in between your shoulder blades and the back of your head. Once it's touching all 3, bend from the waist about 45 degrees. You should feel your weight in the front of your feet. Try it. Let me know.

Jan

PS- I went to two other PTs and did the massage, ultrasound, taping etc. My current PT-Djimmer and his exercises are teaching my muscles how they should be working via exercies. He is solving the problem, not just trying to fix the symptom of pain.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/10/02 at 12:55 (092128)

thank you that is very helpful. some of us have used up aur life savings on foot problems and can't afford pt. i have found your posts to be very useful. now i have the broom handle idea i see i am very out of line. butt sticks out backwards and back, stomach sways forward.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Julie on 8/10/02 at 16:45 (092139)

Jan, you've identified one of the most common causes of back problems (as well as foot problems). Our weight when standing should be evenly balanced between the balls of the feet and the heels. When it's held too far forward, the pelvis follows along and tips forward, which exaggerates the lumbar curve and puts excessive pressure on the intervertebral discs, as well as causing the knees to hyperextend (lock back). When it's held too far back, other problems arise. Either way, all the joints of the lower extremities are placed under strain, especially the knees; and the muscles are being asked to work unnecessarily hard to keep us upright. When the weight is centred and correctly balanced, none of these problems arise.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

yasmin from london on 8/10/02 at 17:28 (092142)

Hi

What other ways can someone correct their balance/posture? what about doing yoga or pilates?

Yasmin

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/10/02 at 17:56 (092144)

Hi Pala: The key with that exercise is that you are not rounding your back, but are bending from the hips.

The problem with me was that when I tried to bend over, I did it with a rounding of the back instead of bending from my hips. So my problems started in the hips then affected my knees and my feet. His testing looked at my foot and ankle plus what my knees and hips were doing. My podiatrists looked only at what my feet and ankles were doing. My heel problems really originated in my hips.

More info: Yesterday, I was on the web site: physicaltherapy.about.com site and searched on PF. Found an article about the link between the big toe and PF. The article said that the big toe should bend down 65-70 degrees and if it does not then it affects gait and may lead to strain on the plantar.

This was true for me. The range of motion on both my big toes was not very good. When I went swimming, I would get muscle tightening or cramping. Since doing my PT exercises I have much better flexibility and no pain when swimming. So check your toe flexibility.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/10/02 at 18:04 (092145)

Hi Yasmin:

I'm sure both things you mentioned will help in general, but my PF was caused by certain muscles doing things the wrong way. So, I'm having to teach them to do it the correct way via very specific exercises designed for my situation.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/10/02 at 20:09 (092151)

how do you improve the range of motion of the toe? i have this problem too. sounds like we have similar situation.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Julie on 8/11/02 at 04:52 (092169)

Yasmin

If you're interested in yoga or pilates, you'll need to find a class in which you'll be properly instructed. Don't try to learn from books or videos. With regard to yoga, not all teachers will emphasise basic standing, sitting and lying. These are the vital basics of correct body use, but unfortunately all too many just 'teach postures' without reference to them.

And there are many 'styles' of yoga, not all of which are appropriate for people with physical problems. Look for a class that is (a) small and (b) close to where you live or work so that you'll attend regularly. Talk to the teacher first, be open about your problems, and make sure s/he will take an interest in them and give you help.

The British Wheel of Yoga can give you a list of qualified teachers in your area. You can email the central office at (email removed)

I teach yoga in central London, and I do emphasise correct body use. If you want to 'talk' further, you're welcome to email me at juliefried @ clara.co.uk. (Leave out the spaces, which I've inserted in the address to avoid junk mail.)

Pilates, which is largely yoga-based, is very specifically targeted at strengthening the 'core' muscles. It's a good system, though more limited in its scope and aims than yoga.

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 8/11/02 at 12:23 (092202)

Hi Pala:

How to get more mobility in big toes, from a lay person's viewpoint. But first, my disclaimer: I'm not a physical therapist only a patient of one. These exercises were given to me and may not be beneficial for you and could make things worse. You really should get a profession PT's evaluation.

…but here goes: First, do the bowing exercise 2x10, twice a day. Remember to concentrate on getting the weight on the fore foot.

Then add a balancing exercise that I do: Stand on your left foot with the right foot about 3-4 inches off the ground; In your right hand hold a soup can (or similar) and while standing on only the one leg bring the soup can across your chest to near your arm pit and then back to your right side. Do not turn the trunk of your body, just move your hand and arm. I started doing 2 x 5 on each leg, now I can do 20. To really balance well the big toe must help out. Again, be aware of the fore foot.

After a number of weeks you can try to do the waiter's bow on one foot.. even after 3 months of doing this one, I still trouble with 2x 10, so start slow.

One last comment: Before PT when I went for a walk I didn't really feel myself push off on the big toe, but after 4 months of PT I do. Check what you are doing.

Jan

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

pala on 8/11/02 at 13:14 (092216)

thanks so much. will gently carefully do these. i appreciate.!!!

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

john h on 8/12/02 at 18:18 (092301)

I do not know why you lack mobility in your great toe but mine was from hallux limitus which women are more prone to than men. I had a cheilectomy and all my pain is gone and my flexability is fine. This is a short surgery that cleans out the joint and takes out a small wedge of bone to allow the toe to flex. If this is your problem my guess is that exercise or bending the toe will only make it worse. The Doctors can weigh in on that. When the pain gets bad enough you will know it is time to get it fixed.

Re: Julie - Thanks (read above message from me posted 12 Aug) EOM

yasmin from london on 8/12/02 at 18:47 (092307)

gg

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

john h on 8/16/02 at 19:08 (092693)

When I said all my pain is gone I of course meant in my toe! Not my PF!

Re: Relearning how to walk stopped all heel pain!

Jan W on 9/09/02 at 16:16 (094836)

Hi Pala:

It's been about a month and I'm wondering whether the exercises have helped at all?

Jan W